Car-Free Diet Skeptics Challenge FAQs
What is the Car-Free Diet Skeptics Challenge?
Who can apply?
How do I apply?
What are the judges looking for?
How are the final Skeptics chosen?
What are the Skeptics required to do?
Do chosen Skeptics have to go car free for the entire 30 days?
What can the skeptics win?
Who is the sponsor?
What if I have more questions?

What is the Car-Free Diet Skeptics Challenge?
In Arlington County, Virginia, thousands of people live, work and play without a car every day. At the same time, some people are skeptical about the idea of going car free. If you’re one of these Car-Free Diet Skeptics – and you can’t imagine ever giving up your car for a bus, train, walk or bike ride – we’ve got a challenge for you.

From January 3rd – February 28th, we’ll be accepting applications to become Arlington’s Car-Free Diet Skeptics – people who drive a lot now, but are willing to go car free for 30 days, and to share that experience at carfreediet.com. If you’re chosen as one of our Skeptics, and you successfully complete our 30-day challenge, we’ll give you everything you need to travel car free around Arlington and the Washington, DC metro area for up to a year.

For complete contest rules and information, please read the Official Rules and Regulations.

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Who can apply?
You must be 18 years of age or older, not have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor of moral turpitude, and a resident of Arlington County, VA to apply for the challenge. No purchase necessary. See full Official Rules and Regulations for details.

The challenge is designed for residents of Arlington County that currently drive their cars frequently, but who are willing to give car-free living a shot. You do not have to go 100% car-free for the entire 30 days, but you do have to try. If you are chosen as one of our final Skeptics, you will be expected to communicate online about all of your transportation experiences during the 30-day challenge, whether they involve a car or not.

Applicants must be comfortable with and have the ability to regularly share their car-free experience online during the 30-day challenge period, if chosen as a Finalist. This will be accomplished primarily through written and/or video blogs (or vlogs) – short video “diary entries” recounting each day’s car-free experience – but it may also include photo uploads and short updates using Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare.

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How do I apply?

  1. Create a :30 – 2:00 video that shows why you would make the perfect Car-Free Diet Skeptic. Subject matter could include how much you drive/love your car now, ways you might go about being car free for 30 days if you are chosen, and any previous experience you have blogging or vlogging. Upload your video to youtube.com, and copy the web address that links to it.
  2. Take a digital photograph of yourself that can be used as your profile photo for your application.
  3. Fill out completely and submit the Online Application for the Car-Free Diet Skeptics Challenge at carfreedietskeptics.com. You must include the link to your YouTube video, and upload your profile photo, before submitting your application.

Please note that you may be disqualified if your submission does not meet the specifications as outlined in the Official Rules and Regulations.

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What are the judges looking for?
Submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Articulation of why you are Arlington County's biggest Car-Free Diet Skeptic and how you will go about being car free for 30 days if chosen
  • Ability to entertain and engage an audience while on-camera
  • Overall creativity

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How are the final Skeptics chosen?
From March 1st – 31st, all eligible entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges, and will appear on carfreedietskeptics.com. During this time, visitors to the site can vote online for the video they believe best represents Arlington County’s biggest Car-Free Skeptic (limit one vote per person per day). At the conclusion of the voting period, the two applicants who receive the highest scores will be selected as Arlington’s Car-Free Diet Skeptics. Scores will be based on the following criteria: online voting results (up to 25 points), articulation of why you are Arlington County’s biggest Car-Free Diet Skeptic and how you will go about being car free for 30 days if chosen (up to 25 points), ability to entertain and engage an audience while on-camera (up to 25 points) and overall creativity (up to 25 points).

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What are the Skeptics required to do?
From April 21st – May 20th, the two chosen Skeptics will go on Arlington’s Car-Free Diet, meaning that they will attempt to drive their cars as little as possible. They will replace driving with several different alternative modes of transportation, including riding the bus (ART and Metrobus), riding the train (Metrorail), biking, bike sharing, walking, and/or teleworking. At the start of the Challenge, each Skeptic will visit a local Commuter Store®, where Car-Free Diet experts will help determine the best ways for him or her to travel car free for several different trips the Skeptic normally takes. The Skeptics will be filmed by a film crew three or more times during the Challenge.

During the 30 days, each Skeptic will be required to share what it’s like to try to convert to a car-free lifestyle on the Car-Free Diet Skeptics website. This will include:

  • Regularly posting (a minimum of 3 days per week) video blogs and/or written blogs to the Car-Free Diet Skeptics website
  • Uploading photos to the Car-Free Diet Skeptics website when appropriate
  • Sending Twitter “tweets”, posting Facebook updates, and “checking in” on Foursquare when appropriate
  • Appearing in videos shot by a video crew at various stages of the Challenge

The Skeptics will receive the following “Finalist Merchandise” to use during the Challenge to help them go car free:

  • One Trek bicycle and cycling gear (selected by Sponsor) from Revolution Cycles and BikeArlington
  • One book titled How to Live Well Without Owning a Car by Chris Balish
  • Trip-planning assistance from an Arlington County Commuter Store® transit specialist
  • One Arlington transit and bike map
  • One HD Flip camera
  • One 30-day membership to Capital Bikeshare
  • One Car-Free Diet Skeptics t-shirt and one hat
  • One journal and pen for taking notes about the car-free experience
  • One SmarTrip® transit card loaded with fare value of $150


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Do the chosen Skeptics have to go car free for the entire 30 days?
The chosen Skeptics are required to TRY to go 100% car free for the entire 30 days. If they fail to do so on a particular day, that’s okay – but they need to communicate online about what happened (what circumstances caused them to drive, how they might be able to go car free under similar circumstances in the future, etc.).

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What can the Skeptics win?
The two chosen Skeptics will be judged during the Skeptic Challenge Period based on how successful they are in attempting to go car free for 30 days, how well they meet the minimum requirement of three video and/or written blog posts each week, and the overall quality of their updates (including articulation of what the experience is like, creativity, entertainment value, and online engagement earned, such as “likes,” views, followers, comments and similar interactions online).

The Skeptic who successfully completes the challenge with the higher score will receive the following:

  • A SmarTrip® card (loaded with fare value of $150 each month for 12 months) for riding ART, Metrorail, Metrobus and more
  • A Zipcar® membership and monthly driving credits for 1 year 
  • One year membership to Capital Bikeshare
  • A gift certificate from Potomac River Running

The Skeptic who successfully completes the challenge with the lower score will receive the following:

  • A SmarTrip® card (loaded with fare value of $150 each month for 6 months) for riding ART, Metrorail, Metrobus and more
  • A Zipcar® membership and monthly driving credits for 6 months
  • One year membership to Capital Bikeshare
  • A gift certificate from Potomac River Running

In addition, each Skeptic who successfully completes the challenge will be permitted to keep the Finalist Merchandise listed above.

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Who is the Sponsor?
Arlington County and Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS) promote many alternatives to driving alone that are available to residents and businesses in Arlington County, VA:

ACCS also offers a range of resources to help people go car free (or car lite):


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What if I have more questions?
For questions or additional information about the Car-Free Diet Skeptics Challenge, please refer to the Official Rules & Regulations, or contact us at info@carfreedietskeptics.com.

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